Review: Dangerous Secrets by Lisa Marie Rice

Format: E-bookdangeroussecrets
Read with: Amazon Kindle
Length: Novel
Genre: Romantic Suspense
Series: Dangerous, Book 2
Publisher: Avon Red
Hero: Nick Ireland
Heroine: Charity Prudence Prewitt
Sensuality: 4.5
Date of Publication: July 1, 2008
Started On: December 9, 2010
Finished On: December 13, 2010

I was going through my reviews the other night when I found that I had not reviewed my favorite Lisa Marie Rice novel from her Dangerous series, the other 2 in the series which I have already read and reviewed before. I remembered Dangerous Secrets to be a novel that made a huge impact on all my senses and that is the main reason why I decided to re-read and do a full review on this one. It has taken me ages to read and review this, not because this book in anyway fell short of my very high expectations (yes, I have high expectations even when I re-read books), but because of certain stuff going on right now I couldn’t find the time that I really, really wanted to indulge in Nick Ireland and savor him to bits! *sigh*

34 year old Nick Ireland aka Nicholas Ames aka Iceman is one of the best undercover agents that the Unit has ever employed, the Unit being a government special task force investigating international organized crime collaborating with terrorists. Nick had never known who his mother was as his mother had abandoned him at an orphanage when he was a baby. Nick had grown up in a bunch of orphanages and sometimes brutal foster homes where his main job had been survival. Though Nick had never known anything tender in his life, he had always been a fierce champion of the underdog, and that is how Nick had ended up befriending his closest friend and billionaire Jack. Tall, with midnight black hair and deep blue eyes Nick has a body which has been honed to perfection to be a lethal killing machine in the 10 years that Nick had served in the military. Nick is known as the Iceman because he is always cool and in control no matter what the circumstance until his legendary cool shatters and dies a brutal death when he invades Charity Prewitt’s life on his newest mission.

Charity Prudence Prewitt is a 28 year old librarian living in the quiet little town of Parker’s Ridge in Vermont. Beautiful with an air of calm serenity and elegance that always surrounds her, Charity had given up the hope of pursuing her dreams to take care of her ailing aunt and uncle who are the only family Charity is left with since her parents had died in a fire 15 years back. Charity had given up hope of ever finding someone who would want to share her life together with her responsibilities towards her aunt and uncle and had resigned herself to turning into an old maid when Nick strolls into her life, seducing her into surrendering her heart, body and soul to him.

Nick’s mission is simple. Seduce information from Charity about her best friend, Vassily Worontzoff, the Russian author of Dry Your Tears in Moscow, a novel considered as one of the classics of the 20th century. However, Vassily is far from the grand old man of literature that everyone thought he was. Vassily is one of the survivors of the Kolyma, the Soviet Union’s cruelest prison camp where prisoners had to work in temperatures as low as -90 degrees Fahrenheit in the gold minefields. Vassily had indeed been the renowned author back then, but the cruelty of the prison system and losing his beloved Katya who had never stood a chance with her beautiful good looks in a place like the Gulag prisons had turned him into the complete opposite of what he had been. Vassily had entered prison as a writer and come out as a monster, now the head of the Russian mafia in America, a man who would do anything to claim Charity as his own as he believes her to be his Katya, reincarnated for them to be together once again.

When Nick strolls into the small quaint library and assumes his role as the suave retired stockbroker and asks Charity out for dinner, the awareness that catches both of them unawares is stunning and ferocious in its intensity. Nick, a man who is so used to always been in control of his emotions and baser nature suddenly finds himself at a loss on how to handle how Charity makes him feel, the need in him to possess Charity as his so strong that nothing on Earth would sway Nick when he saw the danger that Charity was in, making a man who is commitment phobic to the extreme to marry the woman who makes all his senses go haywire – all in a good way.

A week is all that Charity has with her husband before they are married and on the eve of their wedding Charity receives a news that no bride should ever hear, especially on her wedding night. And Nick becomes a force to be reckoned with, as he breaks every rule ever written to protect the woman he loves at all costs, from a man who is nothing short of insane, a man who thinks nothing of it to smuggle radioactive material and sell it to the highest bidder to achieve his nefarious goals in life.

Likes:

  1. Holy shiite!! This book packs a whole lot of sensuality that I found myself in a sort of daze all throughout the story. Damn you Nick!! Nick makes it really hard not to make you devour each and every love scene in the book, and surprisingly I found myself wanting more of the same when most of the time too many love scenes in a book just tends to make the story cumbersome. But Ms. Rice pulls it off so well that I couldn’t help but yearn for more and more of Nick and Charity heating up the sheets, the walls and what not! ^_^
  2. Nick Ireland. He is just perfect! In each and every way! Though his gentleness and kindheartedness draws you towards him unlike anything else, this doesn’t make him a wimpy hero by any means. His smoldering sensuality, the way his senses all comes alive with Charity, the way he cherishes each and every moment he spends with her, unknowingly yearning for something he had always thought that he should or would never have just makes me endlessly sigh over the guy! God, I wish I could order up a guy like him to turn up on my doorstep! For real! ^_~
  3. Charity Prudence Prewitt. Though the prudence bit makes me go LOL, Charity is just the perfect match for Nick in each and every way. I say this because heroines in Ms. Rice’s books are never feminists who constantly need to prove a point to the hero. But rather they are feminine to the core, with an inner strength that stuns you from time to time and manages to lend the story a really charming quality with their elegance and beauty. So needless to say, I fricking loved Charity to bits!
  4. The flow of the story. I don’t think I can ever describe how well this story goes down, like a glass of cool water, not too cold, just the right temperature to quench your thirst on a really hot day. That’s how well I perceived this story and I imagine I would read it again somewhere down the line, just to give a treat to all my senses – as a treat to your senses is what  this book is! Pure magic is what Lisa Marie Rice weaves with Nick and Charity.
  5. And I loved me the ending! To pieces! ^_^
  6. Oh yes, the library smexing! Earned it the A+ grade, yes it did! *wink*

Dislikes: None.

Favorite Quotes

Charity forced herself to sit back, still her nerves, and smile blandly into Nick’s eyes, when – shockingly – what she really wanted to do was climb into his lap, nuzzle her face up against that square jaw, find out with her hands whether he was as hard underneath that elegant suit as she suspected. Place her lips precisely against his throat, where she could see the fine line where his whiskers stopped. Feel his heartbeat against her mouth. Lick that smooth, tan skin.

There was an unnatural hush, as if the entire world were waiting for them to take a leap into the unknown. She lived on a quiet street, it was true, but there were no noises whatsoever. They could have been the last man and woman on earth.
He bent down, slowly. So slowly she could have protested or turned her head if she wanted. The idea never crossed her mind. If anything, Charity lifted herself a little on the balls of her feet, to meet him halfway.
Nick kept his hands by his side, so she did, too, though she had to curl her fingers into her palms to keep from reaching out for him. It seemed as if she’d wanted to touch him all evening, touch that un-businessman-like body hidden underneath the staid business suit.
Their lips met, clung. Charity opened her mouth to him, not thinking about it. Her mouth just opened as her eyes drifted shut. She didn’t want anything to distract herself from the feel of his mouth on hers, hot and soft at the same time. When his tongue touched hers – just a quick stroke – she felt it down to her toes.

She was thinking about that, about the lazy way he’d licked her neck this morning while his thumb rubbed over her nipple, when she saw Nick, appearing suddenly out of the icy mist.
She was staring dreamily out the big library window, thinking of him and for a moment, it was almost like a scene out of a movie.
The big, handsome man, black haired and blue eyed, tall and strong, striding out from the mist. He walked like a gunslinger, loose and lanky, big heavy coat swirling around his legs, looking right and then left, checking out the situation. He was always intensely aware of his surrounding, more like a sentry or a soldier than a businessman.

She took a deep breath and asked the question that was haunting her. “After—afterward.” She swallowed. There was no moisture left in her mouth, her lungs felt empty. It was hard to speak. “Afterward, will I see you again?”
It was painful to humiliate herself like this, but her need to know overrode her embarrassment. If he said no, he was leaving as soon as his job here was over, she’d crumple to the ground. Her knees stiffed, her spine stacked back up. No, no she wouldn’t. Prewitts didn’t fall to the ground. They took what life dealt them, and did the best they could.
It was as if he hadn’t heard her. “You are staying twenty minutes, not a second more. The instant you step outside of Worontzoff’s house, I will be at your side and I’m not leaving you, ever again.”
A low growling noise came from Nick’s throat, the noise a dying, wounded animal would make. He bent down to her, eyes blazing, mouth open. Her own mouth opened, instinctively, helplessly, for his kiss. But he stopped a breath away from her lips, eyes burning into hers. He was panting, his breath hot on her cheek. A trickle of sweat fell down his temple to plop on her neck. It was impossible to think of anyone calling him Iceman. He looked like he was ready to explode into a fireball.
“I came back from the fucking dead for you, Charity, so no, I’m not going anywhere. I’m going to live with you here or in another house; I don’t care. I’ll do something—maybe I’ll run for sheriff. I don’t care about that, either, as long as I’m with you and we can raise our child together. Is that clear?”
She could almost feel the waves of his strong male will beating against her. There was no way she could resist him even if she wanted to. But she didn’t. Living with him for the rest of her life, raising their child together, sounded like heaven. “Yes, very clear,” she whispered. He brought his mouth down to hers again, stopping at the last second, then pulling back. His eyes dropped to her mouth, then rose again.

Recommended for: Fans of Lisa Marie Rice or fans of romantic suspense who love their mystery to come packaged with a high dosage of sensuality. This one makes all your senses reel – all in a good way of course!

Purchase Links: Amazon | Barnes&Noble | BooksOnBoard | Kobo

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Lisa Marie Rice

Review: A Baby for Emily by Ginna Gray

Format: E-bookababyforemily
Read with: Amazon Kindle
Length: Novel
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Series: Silhouette Special Edition #1466
Publisher: Silhouette
Hero: Dillon Maguire
Heroine: Emily Collins Maguire
Sensuality: 3.5
Date of Publication: May 1, 2002
Started On: November 26, 2010
Finished On: November 26, 2010

I know not the reason why, but when I woke up this morning all of a sudden I started recalling this story that I had read a couple of years back. All I remembered was the fact that I had loved the hero in the book and that the book had been an emotional wrangler and that the heroine’s name was some Emily. Since I couldn’t recall the title or author properly I spent a couple of minutes searching for the book and thank god for the fact that I keep my e-book collection on my hard disk drive I was armed with this book in a couple of minutes, ready to sink myself into the heady world of romance that Ginna Gray has so beautifully created with this novel.

29 year old Emily Collins Maguire is shocked senseless when just hours after she and her husband Dr. Keith Wesley Maguire had learned that the in vitro treatment had been successful and that finally Emily was pregnant after going through every conceivable test on Earth for the past couple of years of their 7 year marriage to learn that her husband had died of smoke asphyxiation wrapped in the arms of his current mistress at their townhouse. Devastation doesn’t begin to cover it when the destitution with which Keith had left her in becomes clear as Keith’s countless affairs, the depth of his lies and betrayal in every aspect of their marriage comes to light. Pregnant, alone, broke and unemployed, Emily has no choice but to trust Dillon in the salvation that he offers her, not that she would take his pity or charity any day.

Dillon Maguire has loved Emily since that fateful day 7 years back when he had met Emily at the hospital where Keith worked as an oncologist. Emily who had grown up with a mother who had rarely been present with her wanderlust nature had showed up, deathly sick and diagnosed with breast cancer. The 21 year old Emily had taken a shine to Keith once he determinedly started his wooing process and before she knew it Emily had been married to a handsome and suave doctor who it seems wanted nothing more than for her to be his dutiful wife.

Dillon had grown up with a mother who fiercely resented his presence in her life, the truth of which comes to light much later in the novel. Keith had always been her favorite and Dillon had received whatever mothering and tender care from his neighbor and friend Jeremy’s mother Gert Shneider. And when Jeremy had been killed serving in the army when he had been nineteen, all of Gert’s mothering had solely become focused on Dillon. Dillon had always known that Keith viewed everything as a competition when it came to him and that he had been a little too late in masking his interest in Emily when he had first met her. All throughout their marriage Dillon had  tried his best to act cold and aloof towards the woman who undoubtedly had his love, an act which he pulls off too well when Emily at first tries to refuse his much needed help and care during the first couple of days after Keith’s death. But the secret that Dillon hides within himself is the one that could destroy everything he works so hard throughout the story to build between himself and Emily.

Likes:

  1. Dillon Maguire. If there is anyone who has read this story and not fallen for him then obviously there is something wrong with them! Dillon is manhood personified not just because of his intense and broody good looks and his multi-millionaire status or because of his tortured soul, those things do help, but it is because of how well he takes care of Emily regardless of the fact whether his love and feelings are welcomed by her or not that clinches the deal with Dillon. He puts each and every need of Emily above his, and I do not say this lightly and because of that very fact, my heart ached each and every time for the position Keith had put him in, even in death trying to cheat him from getting what he wants more than anything else in life.
  2. I loved the roller coaster of emotions that coursed through me when I lost myself in this story. Love and an overwhelming feeling of protectiveness towards Dillon, the need to slap Dillon’s mother senseless a time or two and then some, dislike towards Dillon’s elder sister Charlotte for her holier-than-thou attitude at times and a deep respect for Gert, the only woman in my opinion who truly deserves Dillon’s love and affection in this novel.
  3. The intense sexual tension in the story. Though this book doesn’t contain much of scenes of the bedroom variety, the slow awakening of senses that take place continuously in Emily was in fact much better than any hard and fast sex session could have been, though that wouldn’t have been unwelcome either! ^_^ But this drawn out tension between Dillon and Emily made me dizzy a couple of times and everything in me clamored for them to find joy in each other soon or I would have been the first to undergo self combustion in the Maldives! ^_~
  4. For some reason or the other, I can’t help but love the cover of this one. Just the scene of love, warmth and affection it represents touches something deep inside of me. ^_^

Dislikes:

  1. I don’t know why, maybe certain feminist readers may disagree with this but I thoroughly disliked Emily because of how she treated Dillon at the very end. I understand that what he did was not of the norm but Emily never even stopped to think for a second that it was Dillon, the Dillon who had been taking care of her, bestowing upon her his love for the past year or so and that she had never ever felt happier in her life and never more cherished than the time she had spent with Dillon, but the minute she learns of the dreaded truth regarding the paternity of her child, she is all fire and intense anger and goes as far to leave Dillon without even giving him the time to explain. My heart literally broke in two for the hurt that Emily puts Dillon through and in the end it is Gert who has to step in and knock some sense into Emily to make her suddenly realize that Dillon is not Keith and that he would never hurt her and that he had ACTUALLY been in love with her for the past 7 years. *rolls eyes in frustration* That’s why for me, Emily doesn’t really deserve Dillon’s love and unwavering loyalty and affection, because for me, a man like Dillon deserves more, much more than someone like Emily who can just walk away leaving a devastated man behind.
  2. I have to agree with the other readers who have taken the time to review this book. The ending was a bit abrupt and sort of leaves the reader hanging. I would have loved to see Emily do a bit of groveling on this one for a change!

Recommended for:

  1. Fans of Ginna Gray. Her writing style is addictive. You just want to keep on reading and subject yourself to the emotional intensity packed into this story.
  2. Those who loves their romance to play havoc with their emotions. This one certainly does that – in spades!

Favorite Quotes

Dillon’s gaze zeroed in on the distended mound beneath Emily’s blue maternity top.
His nostrils flared slightly as he drew in a bracing breath. He rubbed his palms on the legs of his jeans, then slowly reached out with his right hand. It hovered, not quite steady, the long callused fingers spread. Then, as gentle as thistledown, his hand settled onto Emily’s tummy.
She caught her breath. Tanned by hours in the sun, his skin was a deep bronze against the powder-blue maternity top and so large it practically covered her abdomen. Dillon’s gaze met hers for a second, but as though unable to resist, he looked back at the mound beneath his hand.
Emily closed her eyes and lay rigid as stone. She could barely breathe. Even though her maternity top the imprint of his hand seared her flesh like a branding iron. She could feel each individual finger, the broad palm, the incredible warmth.

Lazily his gaze trailed down her face. For the space of several heartbeats he stared at her lips, parted in surprise, and slowly, as though weighted with lead, his eyelids began to droop and his head tipped to one side.
Emily felt his breath feather across her face and excitement pounded though her. She could barely draw breath. Unconsciously, the tip of her tongue peeked out and swept over her suddenly dry lips. Through slitted lids fringed with sweeping black lashes, Dillon’s eyes glittered like blue diamonds.
Then he pulled her close, gathered her against his chest with both arms and pressed his lips  to hers.

Purchase Links: Amazon | Barnes&Noble | AbeBooks

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Review: Marked by Moonlight by Sharie Kohler

Format: E-bookmarkedbymoonlight
Read with: Amazon Kindle
Length: Novel
Genre: Paranormal Romance
Series: The Moon Chasers, Book 1
Publisher: Pocket
Hero: Gideon March
Heroine: Claire Elizabeth Morgan
Sensuality: 4
Date of Publication: December 26, 2007
Started On: October 17, 2010
Finished On: October 17, 2010

When I finished Worth Any Price by Lisa Kleypas, I started out by choosing A Hunger Like No Other by Kresley Cole from my humongous to-be-read pile. Even way before I started on the book I was thinking that I had previously read the book, mistakenly mixing up this title with the one I had chosen to read.

Marked by Moonlight by Sharie Kohler was a book I stumbled across during the time when I first discovered the exciting world of e-books. Back then I used to read about one book per day, maybe even more than that and tended to forget the book soon afterwards though some stories linger in my mind as worthy of a revisit sometime later. Not being much of a fan of paranormal romance, even then I remember that I had immensely connected with this story. When I realized that A Hunger Like No Other by Kresley Cole wasn’t exactly what I had been looking for, I quickly posted what I remembered from the book on a couple of forums to find out whether anyone else remembered reading a book such as the one whose synopsis I vaguely recalled. I hit jackpot this morning when one of the readers of a forum remembered this book and I quickly loaded the book onto my Kindle and never looked back for the past couple of hours.

Marked by Moonlight is the first book in The Moon Chasers series by the author, the 3rd book of which is currently in my TBR pile. This book is the story of lycan hunter Gideon March who joins NODEAL, National Organization for Defense Against Evolving and Ancient Lycanthropes whose code was to destroy them at any cost. Gideon had been only 16 years old he had witnessed the brutal slaying of his father at his beloved mother’s hands who had been bitten by a lycan. She  had nearly destroyed Gideon and his younger sister Kit until they had been saved right in the nick of time by now Gideon’s boss and mentor and board director of the Houston Area division of NODEAL Cooper McPherson. Gideon had made it his life to seek out and destroy as many lycans as possible, the streak of vengeance burning deep within him refusing to die out anytime soon – that is until Gideon comes across prim and timid as they come schoolteacher Claire Elizabeth Morgan who literally turns his life upside down in more ways than one.

Growing up with a brute of a father who had controlled both Claire and her sweet mother with the threat of retribution by his fists hanging over their heads, it is no wonder that Claire carried the aftereffects of being submissive to ward off the violence in her life when she had been growing up. Now 31 years old, Claire is a high school teacher who has a soft spot for troubled kids, always going that extra mile to help them make a better future for themselves.

It is when Lenny Alvarez who has been under Claire’s special guidance throughout the year when she had finally broken through the layer of deep resentment that surrounded troubled kids such as him, goes AWOL that Claire dares to venture into Lenny’s neighborhood to ensure that Lenny would show up for his SAT’s on Monday. Claire doesn’t know what hits her when she follows Lenny into a dark alley and ends up being knocked down by a huge dog (which is what Claire wants to believe at first) and bitten in the process.

When she finds her savior Gideon March who is sexy as sin in her bedroom claiming that she had been bitten by a lycan and would herself go into a feeding frenzy the next full moon, Claire refuses to believe what she considers is a mad man’s mantra though Claire finds herself unbelievably drawn to the delicious temptation that Gideon’s body invites.

Gideon doesn’t know why he doesn’t pull the trigger and finish what was inevitable in coming, but somehow Claire with her new found confidence and feisty nature seems to answer a need deep within himself that he is unable to ignore. But helping someone who wants to keep her head buried in the sand proves to be a test on the reserves of patience that Gideon has in store. For the first time since Gideon started hunting Lycans, he goes against every code that has been ingrained into him and even lies to Cooper to buy himself time in order to find the alpha of the pack that had turned Claire and kill him/her before Claire has fed in order to revert the cycle.

When Claire finally does acknowledge the changes that are taking place in her body, precious time has passed and though she refuses to give up hope time seems to be a commodity that seems to be running out on them as Claire and Gideon battle the fierce attraction that blazes out of control between them which refuses to be denied as they go on the hunt. Help comes from unexpected sources and before the end is through, Claire would have to battle with the warring nature deep inside of her to come out victorious in the end.

I basically loved everything about this novel from its pretty cover to its great characters which made this a pretty great read, more so the second time round. I loved Gideon who basically oozed sex appeal at every turn and made my toes curl with his protective streak when it comes to Claire. I also loved Claire, the way she transforms from a mousy nobody into a sexy siren overnight, the lycan bite of course lending her the courage she needed in spades to embrace the person she really is. Loved the story that unfolded though some reviewers scoff at the idea of being able to reverse the effect of a Lycan bite and turn back into a human. I say its Ms. Kohler’s world of werewolves and shifters and she can do anything she damn well pleases with her other worldly creatures.

Recommended for those who love a romance with a sexy as sin hero who literally singes your eyebrows off with his smoldering sensuality and a plucky heroine who completes Mr. Sexy in every way.

Purchase Links: Amazon | Barnes&Noble | BooksOnBoard | Kobo

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Review: Shades of Twilight by Linda Howard

Format: E-bookShades of twilight
Read with: Amazon Kindle
Length: Novel
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Series: Standalone
Publisher: Pocket
Hero: Webb Tallant
Heroine: Roanna Davenport
Sensuality: 3.5
Date of Publication: September 1, 1997
Started On: September 14, 2010
Finished On: September 16, 2010

As Catherine Coulter says on the cover of the book, Linda Howard is definitely an author who makes all our senses come alive with her cleverly spun romances. All my senses were on red alert from the start till I read the very last line of the book. No author does alpha heroes better than Linda Howard and that my fellow readers, is a fact.

Shades of Twilight is a story that is focused on  the Southern, rich and generations old Davenports family. The story kicks off when Roanna Davenport is just a mere 7 years old, Jessamine (Jessie) 13 years old and Webb Tallant 7 years older than Roanna who are all 1st or 2nd cousins. Roanna’s parents along with Aunt Janet who had been Jessie’s mother are killed in a car crash rendering their grandmother, the strong head of the household Lucinda mourning the loss of two of her children in one day. The Davenports resided in a mansion like house called as  the Davencourt, which Lucinda ruled and managed over. Though Webb is not a Davenport, he comes from Lucinda’s side of the family and she loves him and sees the strength in him that would make him the best choice to lead Davencourt in the years to come.

Whilst grandma Lucinda adored the beautiful Jessie where Roanna never did learn how to be graceful and always had a way of finding trouble where ever it may be, Roanna was afraid for the most part that the death of her parents would mean that she would be sent away. But in the end, grandma Lucinda overrides the discussion by stating that both Jessie and Roanna would live at the Davencourt. Even from that very tender age, Roanna hero worships Webb and the ground he walks on. Webb always had time for her, played with her and in general made her feel better than anyone else in the family.

But Roanna knows that as destiny has decided, Webb would take control of the Davencourt and from the way his eyes possessively roamed over Jessie, he would claim her as well. Spoiled to the core and illegitimate, Jessie had always resented Roanna for the fact that Webb always seemed to stand up for her and protect Roanna from Jessie’s bullying. The only place where Roanna feels any comfort is with the horses that the Davenports breed and there she blossoms and blooms like a flower starving for sunlight.

When Roanna turned 15, Webb and Jessie had married leaving Roanna heartbroken. Two years pass by and everyone at Davencourt knows that the marriage is far from a happy one. With Webb thrust into the cutthroat world of business whilst at the same time attaining his masters, he had little time for the tantrums that seemed to be a daily part of Jessie’s life upon her discovery that she is not able to control Webb like she does with other people who surround her life. And when she starts her illicit little affair with her own birth father, Jessie can barely keep her glee to herself. Meeting her father at hours for a time during the day, it is on one such day that Roanna follows Jessie and comes upon Jessie and her mystery lover whilst going at it like a bunch of animals. Angered beyond belief and hurt on behalf of Webb, Roanna makes her way home vowing never to tell Webb what she had witnessed.

That night, things take a turn when Webb who always badgers Roanna about how little food she intakes, offers her comfort in his arms. An innocent embrace slowly spirals out of control when Webb who has never seen Roanna as anything else other than a sister finds himself fiercely aroused, and a kiss initiated by Roanna has both of them nearly out of control when Jessie walks in on them and starts shrieking the house down. Jessie eventually manipulates the turn of evens to make it sound as if Roanna had deliberately tried to set up the scene in the kitchen so that Jessie would walk in on them, and the loathing and anger that Roanna sees in Webb’s eyes breaks her heart to pieces.

The mother of all arguments that Webb and Jessie has that night ends when Webb walks out fed up of Jessie and their marriage. And it is Roanna who walks into their room later to find her murdered, with her head bashed in. The whole family is quick to blame Roanna who the police rule out from the very beginning. In the end, Webb is their number 1 suspect, though his airtight alibi doesn’t allow the police much room for conviction. That night, everything changes in their family. Webb who had always been the darling golden boy of the family comes under accusations and the one time he needs his family, except his mother and another aunt, all his family turn their backs on him. Roanna does try to offer him comfort, only to be rebuffed in front of everyone else, which finally shatters her completely. Finally, with the investigation over with, Webb walks out on the family, never looking back.

Ten years later, Lucinda begs Roanna to bring Webb back home. Lucinda needs to make her peace with Webb, and hand over the reins of the  business to him as cancer is slowly taking her over. The ten years had left its toll on Roanna  as well. Gone was the coltish, exuberant girl brimming with energy and mischief. In her place was a cool, remote young woman who never hurried, never lost her temper, seldom smiled and much less laughed out loud. n her mind, she had been worthless and unlovable as she had been when Webb had rejected her apology and the comfort she had offered at Jessie’s funeral. So she had destroyed herself and built a new person who doesn’t feel much, and goes through the daily routine of life like an automated machine. The act of convincing Webb to come back to Davencourt stirs the only emotion that she had felt in 10 long years and Roanna knows that she would never fall out of love with the man who had captured her heart so completely when she was a mere child.

Webb, who has made something of himself in Arizona is shocked by the classy woman who stands in front of him. Vivid erotic encounters featuring him and Roanna had kept much of his dreams occupied and Webb’s control finally breaks and he makes it a condition that Roanna have sex with him for his return to Davenport, an act that he deeply regrets next morning when he discovers that he wants Roanna to come to him on her own terms rather than him forcing her.

Webb’s return to Davencourt is hardly met with applause from the rest of the family who sometime or the other have slowly moved into Davencourt and were leeching off Lucinda. It is upon his return that Webb learns just how close Roanna had come to losing her life and the thought that he would not have known about it leaves him weak with fear. A love that had unfurled as that of a love of a brother towards sister had changed into something else on that fateful night when all their lives had taken an unimaginable turn. And Webb was determined that he would make Roanna his, and prove to her that she belonged with him, as he surely belonged to her.

Amidst his return, the killer who had laid dormant all those years return with a vengeance, to finish off what was started that fateful night 10 years back. A novel that portrays the secrets and lies that a family holds and takes with them to their deathbeds, a story of intense love and passion that withstands  the test of time and distance, this story just took my breath away, even the second time round.

Purchase Links: Amazon | Barnes&Noble | BooksOnBoard

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Review: Hunter’s Moon by Karen Robards

Format: E-bookhunter
Read with: Amazon Kindle
Length: Novel
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Series: Standalone
Publisher: Dell
Hero: Will Lyman
Heroine: Molly Ballard
Sensuality: 3.5
Date of Publication: September 1, 1996
Started On: September 4, 2010
Finished On: September 4, 2010

Hunter’s Moon was the first book ever that I read from Karen Robards which made me ultimately fall in love with her stories and writing style. Though certain titles from Ms. Robards leaves a lot to be desired, most of her stories continue to enchant me and leave me wishing that there were more authors like Ms. Robards out there.

Hunter’s Moon starts off during the year 1982, when 12 year old Libby Coleman disappears on the night of 15th November never to be seen again. The story then continues 13 years later with Will Lyman from the FBI from Chicago who had worked on big time cases is assigned to chase the pettiest criminals he had the misfortune to come across in his career over in Kentucky. City born and bred, Will felt suffocated with the fresh air that he had to breathe in. Will knew that he landed with the assignment because his boss Dave Hallum was pissed off at him him for the fact that the criminals that he had been chasing on a case had blown up his cabin cruiser. For that alone, he had landed in Kentucky with John Murphy as his partner, who is as laid back as they come. Will who was naturally a quick talking, quick thinking and quick acting kind of guy found himself gritting his teeth with Murphy’s attitude. Will who was 39 years old, has an 18 year old son Kevin, and had been married to Kevin’s mother Debbie who had been killed in car accident two days after their son had turned 3 years old.

Will had been assigned to find out what was happening in the horse racetracks in Kentucky where Senator Paxton who bets on race horses suspected that something fishy was going on when his usual bets had turned up losses recently. Senator Paxton had asked his friend and Hallum’s boss to investigate and in turn the assignment had landed in Will’s hands. Will had found out that in fact, Senator Paxton’s suspicions were true and was laying down a trap to lure in Dan Simpson, the horse trainer of the Wayland farm, one of those suspected in substituting the actual racehorse with others and betting on them to draw in huge amounts of money. A burlap feed bag with 5000 dollars in cash had been placed inside the barn and Will and Murphy were monitoring what was going on when a woman whom neither Will nor Murphy has any clue who she is, finds the bag of cash and leaves with it.

Molly Ballard had quit her job at the Wayland Farm four days ago in a fit of fiery temper when Thorton Wayland, the obnoxious grandson of the stable owner had grabbed her butt. Molly knew that her family could not afford the loss of her job and she was determined that Dan Simpson, her boss would pay her the two week’s pay that he owed her. Knowing Dan and his ego, Molly knew that he might refuse to pay what he owed her. Thus Molly had come in earlier than usual before Dan came in so that she would have no chance of missing him. It is inside the barn that Molly finds the bag of cash and without thinking takes it and goes home.

When Molly realized what she had done, the recriminations of her actions had slowly started to sink in. If she were to go to jail or if someone were to kill her for the money, Molly knows that there would be no one else to look out for her 4 younger siblings. Molly had been a baby when her father had walked out on them. Her mother being a manic depressive had born 4 more kids, each for a different man. Ashely who was 17, Mike 14 and Sam and Susan who were twins were 12 years old. With an unreliable mother, Molly and her siblings had all spent their early childhood in various foster homes until Molly had turned 18. Together with her mother, Molly had brought her siblings home and things had been good for a while until her mother had committed suicide in her newest boyfriend’s apartment. It was Molly who had found her with her slashed wrists and blood everywhere. Molly had never notified the authorities of the fact that her siblings were living with her and thus looked after the 4 of them and she wouldn’t have it any other way even though money was always tight and they barely got by.

When Will shows up on her doorstep, Molly fears that everything in her life is about to come crashing down. Mortified more than anything that she had indeed stolen the money and with Will having videotaped evidence of the fact, she is more than relieved when Will believes her version of what happened. But when the informant that Will and Murphy had been relying upon commits suicide, Will needs to work out another plan to make his case work. Thus Will approaches Molly again, this time offering her the 5000 dollars if she would help him nab those he was after. With Will holding all the cards, Molly knows that she has no choice but to do as Will has asked and she agrees to pose as Will’s girlfriend for the duration of the assignment.

Unwittingly, Will who has always maintained perfect control on his emotions and had never mixed his professional life with his personal one suddenly finds himself yearning to do just that with the delectable Molly. At first, Will had felt sorry for the hand life had dealt Molly and her family, but then the stirrings of attraction and awareness begins unlike any he has ever felt before. Will knows he is too old for a 24 year old woman who looks like a teenager at the best of times. Molly who has never had a lack of male companions and had always had the upper hand with the men she dated finds herself out of her depth with the intense emotions she feels for Will. Molly knows that if she is not careful, she would end up falling for a man who would leave them all when the case was over. Nevertheless, the careful control Will yields on his emotions breaks apart and both Molly and Will decide to give in to what they feel for each other.

When Molly falls in love with Will though she tries so hard to deny it and walk away from it, in the end it is Will who walks away when unknowingly Molly stumbles upon the evidence that supports Will’s case. After a final showdown in which both Will and Molly say things that they regret to each other, Will goes back to Chicago and life continues though the pain Molly feels is unlike anything she has ever known. And then 3 weeks later, on the 15th of November, tragedy strikes when a bunch of violent horse mutilations on various nights throughout October culminate in Susan being kidnapped whilst in bed asleep and it is this turn of events that brings Will running back to Molly. Will has to face the fact that what he feels for Molly and her package deal is the forever kind of emotions before its too late for all of them as the maniac killer who had laid dormant for the past 13 years is back with a vengeance and in a frenzy to kill.

Will is an intense hero who makes me melt all over and Molly and her family bring a heartwarming glow to this wonderful romantic suspense novel. The witty banter between Will and Molly always brought a smile to my face and the intense attraction that simmers between the two is always something to be savored. My favorite scene from the book is when Will loses his legendary control with Molly because he is so infuriated with her and they have sex on top of his car, right before he walks out of Molly’s life. That scene was HOT!

Purchase Links: Amazon | Barnes&Noble | BooksOnBoard | Kobo | Diesel

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Review: One Summer by Karen Robards

Format: E-bookone summer
Read with: Amazon Kindle & Adobe Reader
Length: Novel
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Series: Standalone
Publisher: Dell
Hero: Johnny Wayne Harris
Heroine: Rachel Grant
Sensuality: 3.5
Date of Publication: June 1, 1993
Started On: September 2, 2010
Finished On: September 2, 2010

This was a title I read sometime back when I first discovered Karen Robards as an author. I have always remembered this book to be one that I had immensely liked and thus I decided to revisit this story and see what had intrigued me so much back then.

Rachel Grant lives in the sleepy town of Tylerville. Coming from a rich affluent family Rachel now past thirty years of age was resigned to the fact that she would most probably spend her life in Tylerville as a high school English teacher. With her sister Becky married to Michael Hennessey, the one man who had managed to fire up her dreams and living elsewhere with her husband and three girls, Rachel knew that she would not be able to leave her mother Elisabeth and her father Stan Grant behind when her beloved father was suffering from Alzheimer disease and taking its toll on all those who loved him.

Johnny Wayne Harris is the boy from the wrong side of town. Rachel had been Johnny’s English teacher and it was only she that had seen beneath the tough as nails exterior that Johnny puts up in front of everyone else. The Harris family was considered to be white trash within Tylerville and everyone always figured that Johnny would in the end turn out to be just like his father, when in fact he had turned out to be worse when he was convicted of the vicious murder of Marybeth Edwards who had been seeing Johnny back then on the sly. Though Rachel believed that Johnny hadn’t committed the murder, the state decided that he in fact did and had sent him to jail.

Now Johnny was back, having to work off his parole and Rachel wanting to give him a second chance though she knew Tylerville would be in an uproar for the fact, offers him a job at her family’s hardware store. From the moment that Johnny steps off the bus Rachel knows that he is not the boy that she had envisioned in mind. The sullen even then handsome boy had filled up and in front of her stood a lean, hard and tough man who had matured into a dangerous looking man.

Johnny had always had the “hots” for his then teacher Rachel and had always fantasized about her during his teen years. But even then Johnny had known that apart from the age barrier that had seemed vaster back then, they would never be of the same social standing within the society and any relationship that they could have would be doomed right from the start. But Johnny was tired of dreaming and never having and all of a sudden he craves Rachel with the burning desire of a grown man.

Rachel is appalled when she feels the first inklings of red hot desire when she sees what a superb specimen of the male species that Johnny is. And with him enticing her every step of the way and slowly seducing her into his arms, Rachel who had always cared about Johnny more than she had let on suddenly finds herself out of her depths in the strong feelings that Johnny invokes in her. Its not long before the flames of desire that keeps burning finally burst out of control and Johnny is a man who definitely knows how to keep his woman happy.

Meanwhile, the actual killer who committed the heinous crime twelve years back is still on the loose and swearing to finish what had been started all those years back. When Johnny’s close friend and on and off lover Glenda Watkins is also stabbed to death in the same manner as Marybeth was, the town is in an uproar over arresting Johnny and sending him to the electric chair. The only thing that saves him is Rachel and her testimony that Johnny couldn’t have killed Glenda.

Johnny deduces that the only thing that the killer wants is to kill women who were in his life as his lovers. And Johnny knows deep in his gut that Rachel with whom he had fallen in love with and would lay down his life for was in danger of being murdered by the maniac on the loose.

This story is a wonderful read. The total bad boy image that Ms. Robards has effectively created for Johnny would infuse any woman’s dreams. And the man that he grows into is one worth salivating over. Rachel is more than his match with her unwavering faith in him and the love that burns deep within her heart for the man whom the society deems as unacceptable. With glimpses into Rachel’s family life, the town that abhors Johnny’s existence and the ramblings of the mind of a killer vicious enough that gave me the creeps, I couldn’t put this book down once I started. Highly recommended for those who are fans of Ms. Robards as well as those who love romantic thrillers with a good dosage of sensuality in the mix.

Favorite Quotes

Sometimes, in prison, when he’d been lying awake at night staring at the bunk over his head, Johnny had thought that he missed Wolf most of all.
Wasn’t that a damned sad commentary on his life?
The dog whined again. Knowing he was being ridiculous, that he was liable to lose the hand at the wrist when the animal charged, Johnny nonetheless took a step forward,holding out his fingers for sniffing.
“Wolf? Come here, boy.”
Incredibly, the huge animal sank to its belly and slunk forward, behaving as if it wanted to believe but feared a cruel trick. Johnny dropped to his knees to greet it, his hands reaching out, burrowing in the coarse hide, stroking and scratching as the dog whined and licked and pawed him and butted him with its head.
“Ah, Wolf,” he said as he accepted the truth at last, that this one thing that he had loved had been spared in order to greet him. Then, as the big head snuggled into his lap, he wrapped his arms around the dog’s thick neck and buried his face against the animal’s side.
For the first time in eleven years, he wept.

Thoroughly ruffled, Rachel turned her back on the source of her annoyance and started for the door. She could feel his gaze on her, and the notion that he was watching her made her suddenly self-conscious. In her teetering heels, she could not help but sway.
Just as she reached the door, he made an odd sound that caused her to glance back at him, startled.
“Rachel,” he said in what was scarcely more than a husky whisper, while his eyes drilled into hers, “don’t sleep with him. Sleep with me instead.”
Her breath caught for a moment as the words coiled around her like a seductive snake. Only by forcing herself to keep walking was she able to escape.

Purchase Links: Amazon | Barnes&Noble | BooksOnBoard

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Review: Mr. Perfect by Linda Howard

Format: E-bookmr.perfect
Read with: Amazon Kindle
Length: Novel
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Series: Standalone
Publisher: Simon & Schuster
Hero: Sam Donovan
Heroine: Jaine Bright
Sensuality: 4
Date of Publication:  July 25, 2000
Started On: August 15, 2010
Finished On: August 16, 2010

OMG! Sam Donovan has shot up right into the #1 position on my absolute hottie alpha male list. I have no clue as to why I don’t remember this story as being a remarkable one. Maybe it has got something to do with the fact that when I first discovered Linda Howard as an author I just “gobbled” up all the books of hers that I could get my hands on. And boy, am I glad now that I re-read this one!!

Jaine Bright works at a computer related company called Hammerstead Technology. And it was a Friday ritual for Jaine and her three friends Marci Dean, Luna Scissum and T.J Yother to meet up at a local bar and grill called Ernie’s after work for a girls-only unwinding session. Out of the four, Marci was living in with a boyfriend named Brick whom the rest didn’t seem to think much of. Jaine who had been engaged three times and all three times the engagements had gone awry, was wary of men at best and steered clear of them. That is until her drunken looking neighbor who had the gall to suggest she quiet down in the middle of the day so that he can catch up on his beauty sleep whilst he comes home every night at the most odd hours banging and clanging his way through the street, making Jaine regret her decision to buy a house in the nice quaint neighborhood she was living in. And she had just discovered that her neighbor who seemed to vibrate with fury whenever she was around was a cop. Whilst T.J was the only one of them who was married, and that to her high school sweetheart, Luna was in an on an off relationship with a football star, who didn’t seem to have a faithful bone in his body.

So it was no wonder that on that particular Friday, when all four of them were bummed out about the men in their lives, as a joke, the four of them came up with a list of qualities that they require their Mr. Perfect to have. Things like being faithful, nice and dependable makes their way to the top of the list whilst the bottom of the list tended to get a little raunchy. A little harmless fun between friends on a Friday night turns into a nightmare when Marci during a moment of weakness shares the list with the editor of the newsletter of their company bringing all four of them into the limelight.

Meanwhile, at the home front, Jaine’s sister Shelley was pissed off at Jaine because her mom had entrusted the care of Booboo, her parents pet cat to Jaine. And David, Jaine’s brother was pissed off at her because their dad had entrusted the care of his vintage car to Jaine rather than David. And when the list leaks out and becomes a national sensation, Shelley and David seem to be equally pissed off with Jaine. And to top everything off, Jaine sights her “detestable” neighbor Sam naked, and oh boy does she fall hard and fast in lust with every luscious inch on display! And it doesn’t help matters when Sam says stuff like if he starts kissing her, it wouldn’t end up being JUST a kiss, which has Jaine all hot and bothered.

The dialogues between Jaine and Sam cracked me up big time! The conversation they have right after Sam and Jaine kiss for the first time (and boy that was one of the HOTTEST kisses ever!) is one to be savored. Jaine has on her mind to torture the sexy cop who seems to occupy her thoughts throughout the day, but eventually the joke is on her when Jaine is as frustrated as Sam is to hit the sheets. And when they do get round to have wall banging sex for the first time, Sam’s reaction afterwards had me laughing so hard!

Things with the list create enough of a spectacle such that Marci’s boyfriend Brick leaves in a huff and T.J’s husband blames her for ruining his image in front of his work buddies. A rift that had been growing for the past two years suddenly become a gulf big enough that their marriage seems to hit the rocks for the first time with T.J unwilling to apologize for some harmless fun she had with her friends.

But the list brings out the worst of a psychotic killer and suddenly what started out as a bit of fun between friends ceases to be that. When Marci is murdered in her home, bludgeoned to death with a hammer and sexually assaulted, Sam’s protective instincts kick in and thus starts a race against time to find the killer who lurks so close by.

I loved every single minute of reading this book. A quick page-turner with witty banter between all characters, a spunky heroine who grabs life by its “balls” and a sexy hero who makes my toes curl just thinking about him with a villain who just managed to creep me out because I was all alone in my room was enough to make my day! Highly recommended for fans of romantic thrillers. You cannot go wrong with this one!

Purchase Links: Amazon | Barnes&Noble | BooksOnBoard

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